Each year, countless teenagers participate in high school athletics, so the occurrence of injuries is inevitable. While injuries can be discouraging for the athlete, his or her family and the team, they can also cause long term damage to the athlete’s body, especially if left untreated. To minimize the risk of an injury occurring in the first place, there are a number of things that can be done.
In order to prevent an injury, you need to have familiarity with common injuries that occur in high school athletics. Injuries sustained by student athletes are usually acute injuries due to overuse. Most often the injury is related to muscles, tendons or growth plates, because at the athletes age, they are still growing and their bones and muscles are under strain. The most common injuries in high school athletics are:
- Sprains and/or strains
- Growth plate injuries
- Repetitive motion injuries, such as a stress fracture
The best way to avoid an injury is to take preventative measures. The most important prevention steps include:
- Ensure the coaches and assistants are trained on how to spot and prevent injuries. This may including training for coaches and other personnel.
- Employ a certified athletic train who will work with the team
- Use all the required gear, including any protective padding, that is recommended with the sport
- Keep athlete’s hydrated and make sure water is always accessible during practices and games
- Include warm-ups and cool-downs as part of the regular routine
- Include a stretching routine in warm ups, after light activity.
- Don’t play an injured athlete. Don’t let your athletes “tough it out”. If they are injured. Let them rest and recover.
Encouraging kids to stay active is an important part of being a parent but it is equally important to protect them from pushing themselves too hard or not listening to their body when there is an issue. When played correctly, high school athletics is an excellent opportunity for kids to build character become part of a team.